New York State's Phase I Reopening for Western New York Region:

Modified: August 18, 2020 1:49pm

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Western New York region has met the criteria for reopening. Businesses permitted to reopen under Phase I may start doing so on May 19, 2020. Businesses need to have the following ready to meet state requirements:

Safety plan for reopening, templets available at Forward NY website. 

Physical Distancing

  • anyone working indoors should reduce to 50% occupancy excluding supervisors
  • Post social distancing markers using tape or signs that denote 6 ft. of spacing in commonly used and other applicable areas on the site (e.g. clock in/out stations, health screening stations).
  • limit in-person gatherings
  • Establish designated areas for pick-ups and deliveries, limiting contact to the extent possible

Protective Equipment

  • Employers must provide employees with an acceptable face covering at no cost to the employee and have an adequate supply of coverings in case of replacement. 
  • Limit the sharing of objects and discourage touching of shared surfaces; or, when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched areas, wear gloves or, sanitize or wash hands before and after contact.

Cleaning and Hygiene

  •  Adhere to hygiene and sanitation requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) and maintain cleaning logs on-site that document date, time, and scope of cleaning.
  • Provide and encourage employees to use cleaning/disinfecting supplies before and after the use of shared and frequently touched surfaces, followed by hand hygiene.
  • Prohibit shared food and beverages (e.g. buffet-style meals).


  • affirm you have read and understood the state-issued industry guidelines
  • Post signage throughout the site to remind personnel to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols. 
  • Establish a communication plan for employees, visitors, and customers with a consistent means to provide updated information.
  • Maintain a continuous log of every person, including workers and visitors, who may have close contact with other individuals at the worksite or area; excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means. 
  • If a worker tests positive for COVID-19, the employer must immediately notify state and local health departments and cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, such as workers or visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations.


  • Implement mandatory health screening assessment (e.g. questionnaire, temperature check) before employees begin work each day and for essential visitors, asking about (1) COVID-19 symptoms in past 14 days, (2) positive COVID-19 test in past 14 days, and/or (3) close contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in past 14 days. Assessment responses must be reviewed every day and such review must be documented.  
      • Employees who present with COVID-19 symptoms should be sent home to contact their health care provider for medical assessment and COVID-19 testing. If tested positive, the employee may only return completing a 14-day quarantine.
      • Employees who present with no symptoms but have tested positive in the past 14 days may only return to work after completing a 14-day quarantine. 
      • Employees who have had close contact with a confirmed or suspected person with COVID-19 but are not experiencing any symptoms should inform their employer and may be able to work with additional precautions, including regular monitoring for symptoms and temperature, required face covering all times, and appropriate social distancing from others. 
  • If providing on-site screening, screeners should be trained by employer identified individuals familiar with CDC, DOH, and OSHA protocols and wear appropriate PPE, including at a minimum, a face covering. 
  • Have a plan for cleaning, disinfection, and contact tracing in the event of a positive case.

Responsible Parties must conspicuously post completed safety plans on-site. The State has made available a business reopening safety plan template to guide business owners and operators in developing plans to protect against the spread of COVID-19. 

Additional safety information, guidelines, and resources are available:

Erie County, New York Department of Health Coronavirus 

New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Centers for Disease Control Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19)  

Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 

If a business violates the Reopening order please file a complaint.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo established the New York State PAUSE Enforcement Assistance Task Force to assist local authorities with enforcement of Executive Orders and restrictions on business operations and activities, as well as gatherings, during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Individuals can file complaints regarding the operation of businesses or gatherings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through an online form or by calling 1-833-789-0470. (Note: Specific complaints from employees against their employers should be directed to the Department of Labor through their online form.) 

These complaints are reviewed for completeness, accuracy, and applicability under the orders, and then referred to local authorities (as designated by county leaders) by a team of investigators from multiple state agencies. In addition to assessing the credibility of complaints, these skilled investigators can assist local authorities in their front-line role of responding to alleged violations of the orders by assisting available civil and criminal enforcement tools.

This information was brought to you by New York Forward. 


Monday, August 31, 2020